Named for Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, the land much of Perryopolis resides on was originally purchased by George Washington. He later had a mill constructed in the 1770s and encouraged other merchants to set up shop near to it to support the mill.
Since 1986, the Perryopolis Area Heritage Society has sponsored an event to celebrate the heritage of its town. This year’s Pioneer Days will take place this weekend with money raised at the festival going to the society and to help maintain the festival grounds.
Chairing the festival, now in its 25th year, is Shirley Baldwin, who has been there from day one. Known for her famous homemade recipe “rich beans,” Baldwin has previously chaired the food booths and co-chaired the main event. She promises that this year’s festival will be enjoyable for those local and out-of-town.
All of the hard work that goes into the festival is at the hands of volunteers and members of the Heritage Society. Baldwin remarked that there is still a need for volunteers each year — not only for Pioneer Days, but also for the upkeep and maintenance of the grounds.
The kick-off event is 7 p.m. today at Sampey Park., where an Honest Abe will afford you admission to a concert performed by Full Tilt.
Saturday’s events begin at 11 a.m. with a grand parade through town, marshaled by Bill Mills and featuring George and Martha Washington, various organizations, fire companies and a number of high school bands, including Frazier High School. This year will mark the final parade for its organizer Rod Staggers, the school’s band director.
“(They will) never get another one like him,” Baldwin said. “He is excellent in his field and dedicated his life to this community.”
Throughout both days, musical entertainment will be provided at the Sampey Park Pavillion. Saturday festival goers can hear Girlz in Black Hats at noon, Written Between the Lines at 3 p.m., followed by Acoustic Shadows of Blue and Grey.
The highlight of the festival are the Civil War battle re-enactments held Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Over 300 volunteers will don replica grays and blues to portray Confederate and Union troops as they interpret a battle. Casualties of the skirmish will be taken to a hospital tent, where onlookers can witness the treatment of battle wounds. Those participating in the re-enactments will reside in replica encampments when not in battle.
Buckwheat pancakes and sausages are served hot and plentiful Sunday starting at 8 a.m. in the Sampey Park Pavillion. A Civil War church service will follow at 11 a.m.
Bookending Sunday’s reenactment is Gospel musician Ron King at noon and the Steel City Quartet at 2 p.m.
During both days, the Crabtree Bottom Band will provide entertainment from 12 to 6 p.m. Vendors will also be on hand, offering a variety of antiques and crafts as well as food and refreshments. Demonstrators will showcase various handcrafts, which in the past included blacksmithing and glassblowing. A children’s area also will be set up, featuring crafts and other activities.
Tours are held at George Washington’s Grist Mill. Here, visitors will find fresh bread baked in the old bakery ovens across from the mill and homemade apple butter.
This location will also host the annual quilt show during the weekend, showcasing the area’s quilting talent.
Baldwin promises a “fabulous” show.
“It will be quite big,” Baldwin said. “We have a lot of quilters appearing this year.”